(Minghui.org) Greetings, Master! Greetings, Fellow Practitioners!
I was detained twice at a forced labor camp during 2010 and 2013, about 29 months in all. It was Master's compassion and the profound Fa principles that kept me going throughout the process, making me resilient and determined to overcome the persecution. Here I would like to share my experience so that we can all diligently advance in cultivation.
All the detainees in the women's labor camp were required to recite short phrases everyday before eating breakfast and going to bed. Practitioners knew we were not inmates and should not comply. However, facing brutal persecution, many chose to go along with it.
Some spoke with a lisp on purpose, but the guards noticed it and forced them to repeat the phrases many times. When one practitioner in her 60s refused to recite the phrases, guards swore at her and forced her to stand in place past midnight. Every day, they threatened to extend the detention term of a female practitioner who had severe heart disease symptoms.
Seeing the suffering of these practitioners, I decided to help them. I went to the unit manager and told her that we were not inmates, and requested that they stop making us recite the phrases. She heard my explanation and said there was nothing she could do, “It's part of the policy here. You cannot blame me for that.”
I requested to meet with higher level officials and tell them about the abuse we suffered. None of them showed up and the unit manager kept me isolated. I also went on a hunger strike, demanding to see the labor camp director. Guards put me in a small office, verbally abusing me and humiliating me in front of inmates and other practitioners.
When I grew up, I was often praised for my ability and other things. I never thought I would be forced to squat, be shocked with electric batons, sworn at, and humiliated. Because I did not practice until 2004, I always considered myself a new practitioner. But I came to realize that it was time to mature as a Fa-Rectification period Dafa disciple. Thinking of Master's poem in Hong Yin also gave me lots of energy:
Righteous Thoughts and Righteous Actions
A Great Enlightened One fears no hardshipHaving forged an adamantine willFree of attachment to living or dyingHe walks the path of Fa-rectificationconfident and poised (Hong Yin Vol. II)
Amidst the sounds of electric shocks, I gained a better understanding of the sacred title of “Dafa disciple.”
As my determination left me and fear surfaced, I had a dream: there was a giant hand in front me with the following words on one finger, “Fear one thing, fear all; fear nothing, everything's null.” I felt it was a hint from Master that helped me become more determined. With help from Master, we eventually won the battle and the daily phrase reciting was canceled.
The labor camp had many ways to break practitioners' determination, such as making us wear inmate badges, writing journal entries on our thoughts, doing strenuous physical exercises, attending ideology class and giving us homework assignments, as well as forced labor. In the beginning, I did not know that I needed to completely oppose these arrangements. Instead, I just recorded my torture in a journal, which made the guard very upset. I made excuses to skip the physical exercises and not do the homework.
Shortly after that I heard the following words in Master's lecture:
“And you shouldn't acknowledge them either. Do things well in an upright and dignified way, negate them, and strengthen your righteous thoughts some. 'I'm Li Hongzhi's disciple, I don't want other arrangements or acknowledge them'--then they won't dare to do that. So it can all be resolved. When you can really do that, not just saying it but putting it into action, Master will definitely stand up for you.” (Fa-Lecture During the 2003 Lantern Festival at the U.S. West Fa Conference)
Reading these words gave me strength and I felt as if my entire body was filled with energy. Instead of finding excuses to dodge the tasks, I talked directly with the guard, “I am a Dafa disciple and everything we do is the most righteous. Therefore, the rules and policies in this labor camp do not apply to us.”
The labor camp director heard about this and came to find me, “I understand your points except for one thing: why do you consider the physical exercise to be persecution?” I said to her calmly, “We practitioners are able to achieve health with the five sets of Falun Gong exercises. We do not and will not do extra exercises that are forced upon us.”
Officials began to make the inmates hate me, telling them they had to work extra because I refused to do labor. Some inmates said negative things about me in public, but told me in private, “We admire your courage. Those officials are too bad—but we don't dare to say no to them.”
The abuse continued. When the unit manager forced me to stand outdoors on freezing winter days, I stood there with my back straight, reciting Master's teachings.
It was about 20 degrees below zero, but with Master's help, I stood outdoors for over two hours every day and was just fine.
Officials then kept me inside and forced me to stand in a corner all day long. Treating it as a standing stance exercise, I stood there for 10 consecutive days with both palms in front of my abdomen forming a circle.
Officials were surprised when they found I was alright, “You are doing great! How could this be?” They then asked me to sit on a small stool for a long period of time. I sat there straight, with one leg over the other, and started to do the sitting meditation.
They guard was furious, but she did not give up. She called me upstairs and asked me to clean the rooms, “You claim you practitioners are very good people. Right now, other detainees have to clean the cell and bathroom for you. How can you still consider yourself a good person?”
I looked at her and said, “We all know the story of Journey to the West. Monk Tang was known for his kindness. He went through a lot of tribulations on his journey to India to obtain the Buddhist scriptures. He was captured by demons many times. However, would he help clean the demons' caves?”
“I shouldn't do it. Nor should any Dafa practitioners,” I added.
The head guard tried to coerce me to do labor using electric batons. I told her, “What I just said was what I have understood from the principles of the Fa. No one can change it. Your methods can only add to your crimes. They cannot intimidate me.”
She shocked my hand a few times with an electric baton and demanded that I squat down. I smiled and said, “This is persecution. How are you going to repay this debt?”
She didn't know what to do and left quickly.
From then on, no labor camp regulations applied to me, including saying my prisoner number out loud. I simply sat there, recited the Fa, and sent forth righteous thoughts.
As long as I see fellow practitioners in a tribulation, I don't just watch: I step forward to help them. I didn't tolerate any labor camp guards persecuting practitioners.
A guard mocked me, “You think you are Saint Mary? You want to save the world?” Another challenged me, “You always protect your fellow practitioners like an old hen. Why don't you evaluate whether she is behaving like a Dafa disciple?”
I wasn't affected by these words. I had one firm thought: as long as she is here as a Dafa disciple, the evil is absolutely not allowed to persecute her. We are one body. Fellow practitioners' things are my things, too.
One time I saw a labor camp guard leader slap a fellow practitioner because she didn't recite the labor camp rules. I stopped the team lead. She said, “What have you seen?” I responded, “That you slapped someone.”
“Which one of your eyes saw that?” she asked. “Both my eyes saw it. The security camera saw that. Heaven is also watching,” I replied.
“So what?” she said.
“I will expose you and stop you.”
She smiled and told me that she would work on her temper.
One practitioner I know is a very simple person. She worked hard for the labor camp guards. However, under the direction of the guards, a 20-year-old swindler inmate often cursed at her and pushed her. This inmate once beat her and made her nose bleed. She didn't say anything.
I immediately asked the inmate to stop and exposed this to the labor camp director. Upon learning the truth, the inmate stopped bullying the fellow practitioner.
Another practitioner was told that her term had been extended for another 10 days on the day of her scheduled release. She started a hunger strike, which I joined in on. She started eating after a day, but I persevered.
To force me to eat, the guards talked to me, and locked me in a small cell on a metal stage. They wanted to destroy my will and to coerce me to write a guarantee statement. They put me in an iron chair for seven days and nights.
In the end, they bowed to my willpower and begged me to leave the iron chair. After that, they didn't dare to impose any demands on me.
With Master's help and protection, I have been able to disintegrate the evil's arrangement, resolutely resist the persecution and validate the Fa. As a result, people see the power of Dafa and admire Dafa disciples' character.
A labor camp guard told the director that I was very pure and kind, and always so considerate of others.
Another guard sought my assistance to resolve a dispute, “You are the fairest person. What's your opinion?”
A swindler inmate asked me, “Which cucumber is better?” I said both were fine. She asked, “If you were me, which one would you take?” I picked one; she said she would take the other one: “You always leave the better one for others.”
When I was released, a guard gave me some boiled eggs in private. Another one told me that she would read Dafa books.
There is so much to share; I'm just writing down a few anecdotes. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.